For some reason that I don’t understand, I have watched this film a lot of times. It was very enjoyable the first time round as I was young and just liked watching lots of people shoot each other for some loosely held together plot. But having watched it a few more times, it is quite clear that it is a very bad movie. Battle: Los Angeles is a mash up of the things we have come to hate from war films and alien films, with some explosions thrown in to keep us happy.
The problem therefore is that there is no real saving grace for the film. You can’t watch it seriously, because that would be stupid. There’s more than enough foolish decision making and over acting that makes it quite tricky to sit down and focus on for two hours, and the action sequences that are supposed to really sell the film aren’t quite as incredible as they could be. All of this is fine, provided the film doesn’t bore us with wishy-washy tales of people who need to get married but can’t due to a pesky alien invasion…oh.
Surely then, the big finale of this big alien movie will be original and gripping, filled with tension and drama as we don’t know who’s going to make it through (not that we care seeing as the cast is enormous and we can’t remember anyone’s name). No. they sit in some rubble and point a laser at a ship and someone else from miles away fires a rocket at the ship and the ship blows up. That’s it, that’s the finale. Nothing particularly creative or epic, not even a sniff of the president showing up in a jet and firing rockets at it. No, just standard rocket firing from an army base somewhere miles away. And if that wasn’t enough, our “heroes”, get labelled as “heroes”, and their method for destroying the ship gets messaged out to every army everywhere so they can also destroy the ships. The “heroes” did nothing! They got shot at and then someone else fired a rocket at the ship. Someone else! And just because Aaron Eckhart was days from retirement, he gets called the hero.
The point is, it’s not a very good movie. But there is something about it that I feel might be its saving grace, or at least makes the film vaguely interesting. Obviously, as it’s an alien invasion movie, news reporters and “experts” are constantly being shown discussing the situation at hand. Its determined that the aliens have come over, to steal our water, as it’s the only planet in our known universe that has so much surface water. They do mention later in the film that indeed the sea levels have lowered dramatically since the invasion, so we can all agree that the aliens were there to nab our water. The reason for this is never answered, and I personally believe that the prequel to this movie, in which the aliens decide they must spread their wings across the galaxy in search of water, would be much more interesting.
There’s no reason why the aliens can’t be humans, or at least the equivalent from another world, who have been sent out to find water for their home planet. The aliens could so easily be the humans, while the humans in this movie could be considered the indigenous alien population (like in Avatar, but with less 3D). The news reporter mentions that Earth is the only planet known to have surface water, but that doesn’t take into account the unknown planets that have water. If we reverse everything here and assume that the aliens are humans, then it could be vaguely considered plausible (I shall now talk about the aliens as if I am one of them).
For whatever reason, perhaps aliens came and stole our water in the first place, we as a species desperately need water. We clearly live off it, as proven by the fact that we have internal organs that squelch water when shot at or stabbed. Therefore we must find a way of retrieving water from other planets. We tried the ice giants of Neptune and Uranus, but we didn’t have the means of taking pieces of planet and bringing them back to our beloved Earth. So, due to the fact that us humans are horribly destructive and naturally evil, we decide to wage war on other species on other planets with water, because we need it more than them (I don’t know what the universe code is, but I imagine the species that has been in existence longer gets first billing on resources, and the species that has developed interstellar travel and the ability to steal an ocean is probably more advanced than ones using radios to talk with). It’s not as though we are all machine, we are just regular Martian type things covered in huge armour, with guns surgically attached to our arms. We go from watery planet to watery planet and we take the water, and as the news guy says, you can’t colonise a planet without wiping out the indigenous population, so we kitted ourselves out for war and began wiping out indigenous populations (again look at Avatar and the messed up things they do in order to steal a rock).
It makes sense no? The backstory of the invading aliens is a much more interesting plot, and if you mash that up with some hard-core action scenes, then you’ve got yourself a Sci-Fi movie going.